If you are invited to someone’s home for Easter brunch, or if you are hosting your own Easter event, here are a few etiquette tips that will make your party even more special.
For the Host:
1. Plan ahead– We all love an impromptu potluck party with close friends, but planning a more formal event takes careful thought and preparation. Give careful attention to your invitation, the guest list and the venue. Don’t forget to factor in a “Plan B” if you will be hosting an outdoor party – just in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
2. Kids or no kids?- It would be very difficult to plan an afternoon Easter Party and ask your friends NOT to bring their kids. (I have been told that the Easter Bunny prefers small children to large adults but it’s your party!) That said, it has been known to happen, so be very clear on the invitation about who is invited. If your intention is to omit the kids, consider an evening event rather than an afternoon barbeque and give your guests enough time to secure a babysitter. If you receive a call from a parent who requests special consideration because she can’t find a sitter, let her know that you will miss her but are uncomfortable allowing one family’s children to attend without making the exception for others.
3. Pay special attention to the menu – Offering a good variety of foods ensures that both carnivores and vegetarians will be satisfied with your holiday feast. Select menu items that don’t need constant attention in the kitchen to prepare. It would be a shame if you spent most of your time cooking while everyone else enjoyed your party…without you!
4. Expect accidents - While a spilled wine glass or broken piece of furniture is not a welcome thought, it is highly unlikely that some kind of minor mishap may not occur. Make every effort to take care of the situation without showing displeasure. Clean it up, remove it from sight and continue enjoying the party. The role of a host is to make her guest comfortable, so do everything possible to assure your guest that you are not attached to your grandmother’s mother’s hand painted vase…ouch!
5. Make it fun – Do something unexpected by having an Easter Egg Hunt or making something that will be a take-away memory. Games and art projects are not just for kids, but also the kid in you!
For the Guest:
1. Respect the request to RSVP - Nothing makes more of a negative impression than someone who carelessly overlooks the request to respond to an invitation. It’s an important piece of information that your host is relying on to prepare or order the appropriate amount of food and party gifts.
2. Fashionably late or inconsiderate - Ten minutes late is not a problem, an hour late is simply rude. If you already have other plans but would like to join the party at dessert, explain the situation to your host and see how he or she responds. Some hosts will not be bothered and others would prefer you not interrupt the flow of the party.
3. Dress for the occasion – A festive occasion is always a great opportunity to shine. Even if the party is casual, make every effort to dress nicer than you would if you were on your Saturday afternoon grocery shopping run. You never know when there will be a photographer taking Easter photos and you will end up on someone’s Facebook page.
4. Speaking of Facebook – Don’t post any pictures without the consent of your host or fellow guests. Even if you think the photo is harmless, it may not be a flattering shot or a picture that others are uncomfortable sharing. “Do you mind if I post this to my social media page?” is a courteous question to ask.
5. Arrive with a little “sussie” (gift) and send a handwritten thank you note – A thoughtful guest comes to the door with a hostess gift (send flowers ahead of time rather than handing the host a bouquet that she has to immediately attend to during the party prep and rush) and doesn’t forget the importance of a thank you note after the party is over. Optimally, the note should be sent within the first 48 hours and should mention something specific that you enjoyed at the party.
Sending you warm Easter blessings,